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Cost Savings Associated With Digital Therapeutics for Patients With Diabetes, Hypertension


December 13, 2019

Utilizing behavioral intervention plans with digital therapeutics has shown to be cost-effective at improving cardiometabolic conditions, according to a study published online in the Journal of Medical Internet Research

The study was conducted by researchers from Beta6 Consulting Group, LLC, Topanga, CA, and Better Therapetics LLC, San Francisco, CA. It focused on evaluating the economic impact of digital behavioral intervention for type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and hypertension. Researchers also examined the impact of digital therapeutics on clinical inertia and deprescribing medications. Sensitivity analyses assessed uncertainty. 

The researchers used health care resource utilization, health state utilities, and costs data (adjusted to 2018 dollars) from cohort studies and published literature. The study focused on a 3-year time horizon where future costs and quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) were discounted at 3%. 

Results of the study show that the average health care resource utilization ranged from $97 to $145 per-patient per month with high potential benefits in T2DM. 

“Cost-effectiveness acceptability analyses using a willingness-to-pay of $50,000/QALY indicated that the intervention would be cost effective at total 3-year program costs of $6468 and $6620 for T2DM and [hypertension], respectively,” explained researchers in the study. 

In the sensitivity analysis, researchers found that medication costs placed a key role in health care resource utilization saving, but “a resistance to deprescribe medications when a patient’s clinical outcomes improve can substantially reduce the estimated economic benefits.” 

The study authors noted that more research needs to be conducted to measure the benefits of digital therapeutics for other disease management programs. Because this was a data-based study, real-word settings will be required to better validate the economic benefits.

“The [digital therapeutics] studied may provide substantial cost savings, in part by reducing the use of conventional medications," the study authors concluded. "Clinical inertia may limit the full cost savings of [digital therapeutics].”  

—Edan Stanley 

Reference:
Nordyke RJ, Appelbaum K, Berman MA. Estimating the impact of novel digital therapeutics in type 2 diabetes and hypertension: health economic analysis [published online October 9, 2019]. J Med Internet Res. 2019;21(10):e15814. doi:10.2196/15814

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